Tar Baby (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Like the women to whom Tar Baby is dedicated—mother, grandmothers, aunts, great aunts—and like the blind seeress who sends the novel’s protagonist lickety-split into a Caribbean briar patch, Toni Morrison has not forgotten her “true and ancient properties.” Her magical vision extends not only into the past, but also into the future, as she examines the tense alliances that shape the lives of her characters. These tensions are American society’s most fundamental ones: tensions between young and old, rich and poor, male and female, black and white. In Morrison’s expert hands, Isle des Chevaliers, the lush Caribbean setting in which her characters play out their complicated relationships, becomes a microcosm of contemporary American life.
Isle des Chevaliers, the reader is told, “exaggerated everything.” Morrison’s handling of her setting, while certainly not exaggerated, is so loving that the tiniest detail is ultimately made to resonate with significance. The island’s name commemorates the legend that black slaves, upon first seeing the place, were struck blind by it; the blind descendents of these slaves still ride their horses over the hills. Other spirits inhabit the island, as well; swamps, butterflies, the very trees are, at Morrison’s touch, deeply infused with consciousness. She so animates the details of her setting...
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Form and Content (Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series)
Jade Childs is the tar baby that Toni Morrison refers to in her title. Jade is a black woman, intelligent, orphaned, and educated in Paris, who at twenty-five stands poised between two worlds. Her natural world is that of her aunt and uncle, Sydney and Ondine, servants to the affluent Streets who, impressed by Jade’s unique abilities, have sent her to study art history at the Sorbonne. Jade can function in both of her worlds.
Tar Baby is a polemical novel. Morrison examines two worlds by putting into sharp contrast the marriages of the Childses and their employers, the Streets. Although legitimately a member of both worlds, Jade wishes that race were not a part of her social context. She wants to be accepted for the person she is inside, but in her native setting, the United States, this is not possible.
Much of Tar Baby concerns Jade’s attempts to establish her identity. This emphasis is reinforced by Margaret Street’s desperate struggle to retain the identity she gained when she married Valerian. In order to marry him, she sacrificed the personal identity she had gained as a beauty queen. For more than half of her life, she has been Valerian Street’s wife—nothing more, nothing less. Now, having retired to the land of heart’s desire, she is totally alone, afraid of losing Valerian’s love.
Morrison places the durable marriage of Sydney and Ondine Childs in dramatic juxtaposition to the Streets’...
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Context (Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series)
Tar Baby focuses on many social issues, particularly race, class, and gender. Although the book makes significant feminist statements, it is much more than a feminist tract. Its social statements are encompassing, its range of vision broad.
In Jade Childs, readers find Morrison presenting all three of the social issues identified above. Issues of race and class receive greater emphasis than do gender issues; the discussion of race and class, however, brings significant gender issues to the fore. Jade Childs has almost shaken the bonds of racism. Her education has been sound. Her social, intellectual, and racial identity seem to be well established.
Son, however, delivers a devastating jolt to Jade’s carefully built structure. In his black “primitiveness,” Jade finds a dominance that something in her seems to need. In their relationship, Jade is not the decision maker or the equal partner; she is the female, subordinated to the prototypical black male that Morrison seems to be projecting—a prototype, incidentally, modeled on Morrison’s own father. Morrison in no way implies that this relationship is right. She presents it as it is, making no value judgment. Indeed, Morrison herself would likely deplore such a relationship, but as the observant writer she is, she cannot deny that a pattern exists to justify her depiction.
In many ways, Morrison makes a more strident feminist statement in her depiction of the...
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The current time of Tar Baby is before and after Christmas in 1979. Memories of various characters, however, present much earlier times—Philadelphia and Baltimore in the early 1900s, Margaret’s childhood in Maine in the 1930s, Valerian’s development of his island paradise since the 1950s. The experiences and interweaving of the white and black cultures reflect the move of many blacks to the North after World War II, when one can recognize their rise in the middle class of society. Sydney, the black butler, recalls the idyllic life in Baltimore as a child; yet the influence of the strong economic, cultural, and religious institutions of black people in Philadelphia helps to explain his apparent feelings of equality with his employer when Sydney openly disagrees with his actions.
In contrast, Sydney’s niece, Jadine, has totally assumed the white attitudes of people in New York and Paris. Although black, she is much more comfortable relating to white culture than to that of blacks. The “copper Venus” is admired by all and successfully competes in the fashion-modeling world. In contrast, she is uncomfortable, even miserable, when in the black community of Eloe, Florida, which she visits with Son.
The Caribbean setting of the major portion of the action in Tar Baby is fictional, but true to the history and culture of the West Indies. Queen of France, the largest settlement, is a short launch trip from the private island...
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Ideas for Group Discussions
Most discussions focus on the tone, or the ways in which Morrison suggests we should view her principal characters. This analysis suggests a "double" view, but the position from which one proceeds in reading Tar Baby could challenge this view. For example, is Jade to be pitied as a victim of two repressive cultures, which limit her options on the basis of both race and gender? Is she doing the best she can under these circumstances?
1. How do you explain Jade's attraction to Son, both when she first sees him and after he becomes abusive? Is the notion of his sexual magnetism sufficient to account for her turning her back on her aunt and uncle, Ryk and Paris, and her dreams?
2. Similarly, what explains Son's attraction to Jade? She is beautiful, but he tries to change her appearance as soon as they become lovers. Moreover, he tries to insert himself "into her dreams" before he had even spoken to her. Does this suggest attraction or something more mysterious?
3. What waits for Jade when she gets to Paris? Is she lying when she tells Margaret she does not plan to marry Ryk?
4. Do you think Jade can be the same as she is before meeting Son, whatever happens when she goes back to Paris?
5. How do you interpret Therese's powerful hatred for Jade? How can we account for her demand that Son, if he does not murder Ryk and Jade, become one of the blind slaves?
6. What are we to make of Son's...
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Introduction: Questions and Answers
1. The quotation from I Corinthians: 1:11 contains Morrison’s given name. What is it?
2. Why could the sailor not reach the shore near Queen of France?
3. Exactly where was the sailor trying to swim to at first?
4. Where does he swim instead?
5. What does he lose while swimming?
6. What are three odors the sailor notices in this reading?
7. Where does the sailor hide on the boat?
8. What does the sailor find to eat where he hides?
9. After the women leave the boat, where does the sailor go first? Why?
10. What are several sounds heard by the intruder?
1. Morrison’s given name was Chloe. She changed it to Toni when she was in college.
2. The sailor could not swim to Queen of France because the undertow was too strong, sucked him under, and carried him away from the shore.
3. The sailor was trying to reach a deserted pier beyond Queen of France.
4. He swims to a small boat, the Seabird II.
5. The sailor loses his shoes while swimming. They had been tied by shoestrings to his pants.
6. Three odors noticed by the sailor include the ammonia- scented air while he was swimming; the smell of curry, a cooking spice, aboard the Seabird II; and the citrus and oil smell within his hiding place.
7. The sailor hides in a storage closet on...
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Chapter 1: Questions and Answers
1. How long had Valerian and Sydney been acquainted? What was their relationship?
2. How long had Valerian been on the Isle des Chevaliers?
3. What caused Valerian to leave the island after he retired there?
4. How had Valerian met his wife, Margaret?
5. How do Margaret and Valerian differ in their expectations for Christmas this year?
6. What is Jade’s relationship to the Childs and to the Streets?
7. What theft has occurred within L’Arbe de la Croix?
8. Why did Valerian and his neighbors import mongooses to the Isle des Chevaliers?
9. What is Jadine’s work and training?
10. What is Yardman supposed to pick up for the Streets?
1. Sydney has been Valerian’s butler and valet for 40 years. They had developed a friendship, sometimes adversarial (as when Valerian’s health was in question).
2. Valerian had bought the island 30 years ago and built his
estate. He brought his wife and son there on holidays. He retired to the island three years ago—in 1976.
3. Valerian left the island once during the last three years
because of a severe toothache. He went to Queen of France to see Dr. Michelin, who became a friend.
4. When Valerian was in Maine on a trip, he attended a parade during the annual Snow Carnival. Margaret was Miss Maine and rode a float...
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Chapter 2: Questions and Answers
1. Why had Jadine given a party in Paris two months before?
2. How does the black woman in the yellow dress sever Jadine’s attention?
3. How did Valerian’s island get its name? How do Valerian and Margaret disagree about its name?
4. How did Valerian’s uncles show their love for him?
5. When did Valerian say he would retire? Why did his plans change?
6. Where did Margaret’s red hair, disturbing to her father, come from?
7. Where did Valerian meet Margaret?
8. How did Margaret respond when the wife of one of Valerian’s friends asked her about her “school”?
9. What advice did the wife of one of Valerian’s friends give Margaret early in their marriage?
10. How did the soap opera Search for Tomorrow influence Margaret’s life?
1. Jade gave a party in Paris two months before coming to the island to celebrate her successes. She had just been chosen for the cover of Elle, a fashion magazine, and had passed her oral exams. She also had three impressive suitors.
2. The regal black woman in the yellow dress, showing no respect for Jadine, spits while staring at Jade.
3. The hills in the distance appeared to be alive with 100 French soldiers on horseback. Hence, Valerian said the name was the Isle des Chevaliers. Margaret argued that only one soldier rode a horse in the...
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Chapter 3: Questions and Answers
1. To what is the fog compared?
2. What is the previously mentioned affliction of Margaret, made more evident in this reading?
3. What pronunciation by Margaret does Valerian correct…or ridicule? What does this word refer to?
4. Who are the guests expected for Christmas at L’Arbe de la Croix?
5. What are Valerian’s and Margaret’s opposing views about the following line of poetry: “And he glittered when he walked”?
6. What causes Margaret to leave the dinner table in the middle of the meal?
7. What behavior of Michael as a child most bothers Valerian now?
8. How did Jadine react when Valerian criticized his wife at the dinner table?
9. What is Valerian’s opinion of Michael, his son?
10. What is Valerian’s reaction to the black intruder found in Margaret’s closet?
1. The fog is compared to the gray, flowing hair of Margaret’s two aunts from Buffalo.
2. Margaret’s increasing forgetfulness and periods of unawareness are made more evident in this chapter.
3. Valerian corrects Margaret’s pronunciation of Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus in Greek mythology. Orpheus pleads for her release from Hades.
4. Although Valerian is doubtful that they will arrive, Margaret expects their son, Michael; his teacher, B. J. Bridges, who will bring a friend; and Dr....
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Chapter 4: Questions and Answers
1. Although she wants coffee, why will Margaret not go downstairs?
2. What gift has Jadine received from her potential fiance?
3. What were the Christmas presents bought by Jadine for the Childs and the Streets?
4. How has Yardman been neglectful toward Ondine?
5. What does Ondine mean by these words: “Drop that bone”?
6. Why has Yardman come to Isle des Chevaliers?
7. What words described Margaret’s prejudice toward the intruder?
8. What causes Therese to lose her ability to speak English?
9. What information about herself does Jadine read to the intruder?
10. What is Therese’s favorite food?
1. Margaret would not go downstairs to get the coffee she wants because she thinks Valerian has insulted her through his actions with the black intruder, who is still in the house. She still has fear of the intruder.
2. Ryk has given Jadine a sealskin coat made from 90 baby seal skins.
3. Jadine bought a dozen fine shirts for Sydney, a black chiffon dress with matching zircon-studded shoes for Ondine, a record album for Valerian, and a chain of gold coins for Margaret.
4. Yardman had been neglectful in his behavior by forgetting to pluck the chickens for Ondine.
5. When Ondine tells Sydney, “Drop that bone,” she means for him to stop worrying or...
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Chapter 5: Questions and Answers
1. Jadine is black; yet she calls the intruder a “nigger.” What do you think she means by this epithet?
2. What does Valerian remember about his childhood laundress?
3. Why does Michael search out other cultures, inferior ones according to Valerian, to live with?
4. What talent or knowledge possessed by Son impresses Valerian?
5. What is Therese’s attitude toward Son?
6. How did Son earn his first dime? What did he buy with it?
7. What does Sydney mean when he says, “White folks play with Negroes”?
8. What would Michael think about Son and about Valerian’s treatment of the intruder?
9. What did Alma Estee want Son to send her from America?
10. Why is Ondine not cooking the Christmas dinner?
1. When Jadine thinks of the intruder as a “nigger,” she is expressing the white bigot’s negative attitude about a black. The intruder does not appear educated. He behaves in a common way, insulting her with his crude language, and has animal habits.
2. Valerian recalls his daily conversations with the laundress, who always asked him, “What your daddy doin’ today?” When his father died, the laundress helped Valerian get through his loss by putting him to work scrubbing pillowcases. She was fired for her “therapeutic” treatment.
3. Michael sought other cultures to live with because he seemed...
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Chapter 6: Questions and Answers
1. What does Valerian want added to the Christmas feast?
2. How does Valerian feel about Son’s presence now?
3. When Valerian counts those who will be at his Christmas table, whom does he leave out?
4. How does Ondine feel about Son now? Why?
5. How does Sydney feel about a relationship between Son and Jadine?
6. What does Ondine refer to when she talks about her “crown”? Why?
7. How is the meal changed once company is not coming?
8. Who is invited to attend the reorganized Christmas feast?
9. What causes the quarrel between Valerian and others at the table?
10. What long-kept secret does Ondine reveal at the table?
1. Valerian wants Margaret to prepare “ollieballen,” a Dutch pastry his Grandmother Stadt had prepared.
2. Valerian feels that Son has brought good luck to the household.
3. Valerian leaves out Son, Sydney, and Ondine. He expects only their four invited guests to join him, Margaret, and Jadine.
4. Ondine dislikes Son because he is interested in Jadine as a woman. Alma Estee had given Son’s pajamas to Ondine, which were found in the bushes beneath Jade’s window. Son has no money or clear goals, and his eyes are full of wildness.
5. Sydney is not worried that Jade will get seriously involved with Son, a “swamp nigger.” She is...
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Chapter 7: Questions and Answers
1. Why does Son use Jadine’s plane ticket to leave the island three days after Christmas?
2. What does Jade give Son as he prepared to leave?
3. What gift does Therese give Son before he left Queen of France?
4. What does Son call Jadine’s inner voice? Why?
5. Why does Jade describe New York as the power place for black women?
6. What financial success does Jade have in New York?
7. What financial success does Son have in New York?
8. Who is Nommo?
9. What does Son do when Jade hurts her toe?
10. What does Son tell Jadine about his war experiences? What does he omit?
1. Son uses Jadine’s plane ticket to leave the island because he might have trouble buying a ticket without a valid passport. Also, if Valerian turned Son in for breaking into his home, the police would be looking for him; therefore, he believes he should leave immediately.
2. Jadine gives Son $400 to take care of the hotel and other expenses until she arrives.
3. Therese gives Son a dirty black bag of good luck, probably a form of black magic, but Son throws it away.
4. Son calls Jadine’s inner voice “wind chimes,” silvery sounds indicating the fragility of the person. Son knew he would have to protect Jadine.
5. New York is the power place for black women since they can...
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Chapter 8: Questions and Answers
1. What had Valerian thought caused his wife’s sometimes strange behavior over the years?
2. What word does Margaret use to describe how it felt to torture her child? Why does she rationalize that her actions were acceptable?
3. What is the main focus of Sydney’s thoughts during this time?
4. As Valerian withdraws from life at L’Arbe de la Croix, what does he think of constantly?
5. What does Valerian want to cry? How do you interpret this term?
6. How does Margaret get rid of her guilt the morning after her secret was revealed by Ondine?
7. What explanation does Margaret give for her behavior?
8. What do Margaret and Michael talk about on the telephone?
9. What does Valerian refuse to do?
10. Why had Ondine never told anyone about Margaret’s abusive behavior until the Christmas meal more than 28 years later?
1. Valerian had thought that Margaret’s confused behavior might be a sign that she was a secret drinker.
2. Margaret describes the fulfillment of her craving—torturing her son—as “delicious.” In her mind she rationalizes that Michael was not hurt by it.
3. Sydney is constantly worried about his and Ondine’s future. He worries that Valerian will fire them both. Whether they will lose their retirement support, provided for in Valerian’s will, is his...
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Chapter 9: Questions and Answers
1. What is Jade’s first impression of Eloe?
2. What is the only contact between Son and Old Man for the last eight years?
3. Old Man tells Son that Sally Brown has died. What is her relationship to Son?
4. What does Jade mean when she refers to talking “down home”?
5. Why does Jade think Ernie Paul’s visit in Eloe is a “TKO”?
6. When Soldier asks Jade who is controlling the relationship between her and Son, what is her answer?
7. What is Jadine’s nightmare in Eloe and also in New York when she returns there?
8. How does Son threaten Jadine’s idea of her future with his description of her role in life?
9. What does Jadine force Son to do?
10. After Jadine leaves Son in New York following a major fight, why does Son decide to go find her?
1. When Jade arrives in Eloe, she is shocked at how small the town is. Only four houses can be seen.
2. The only contact between Old Man and Son during the last eight years has been the money orders Son sent to his father. No written messages were included.
3. Sally Brown was Son’s ex-mother-in-law. Since her daughter Cheyenne’s death, due to the actions of Son, she had carried a shotgun and intended to kill him.
4. When Jade refers to “down home” speech, she is talking about a very relaxed pattern of speech,...
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Chapter 10: Questions and Answers
1. Why does Jadine say she is leaving Son?
2. What changed physical feature of Jadine do Ondine and Margaret notice?
3. Why is Margaret cleaning out Valerian’s clothing?
4. What does Margaret say to Jadine about Valerian’s ability to function by himself?
5. How does Valerian’s talk about returning to Philadelphia affect Sydney?
6. How does Valerian react when Sydney refuses to leave the island and pours a glass of wine for himself?
7. What positive treatment of Valerian does Sydney show?
8. What physical affliction does Valerian have?
9. Why is Alma Estee at the airport?
10. What does Jadine call Alma Estee? What does this action indicate?
1. Jadine says she is leaving Son because of his “white-folks-black-folks primitivism” that makes him a “cultural throwback.”
2. Margaret and Ondine notice that Jade has cut her hair and is wearing it in a “poodle cut,” a style for white women in the past.
3. Margaret is cleaning out Valerian’s clothes because he has too many that are mildewing and fading. He will never wear most of them. Sorting his clothing is a form of power for her.
4. Margaret describes Valerian’s increasing traits of old age. He cannot button or zipper his clothing; she must shampoo his hair, too.
5. When Valerian talks...
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Conclusion: Questions and Answers
1. For whom is Son looking in Queen of France?
2. Where does Son find the person he is looking for?
3. What had Son often looked at during the last several days?
4. What news does Gideon have for Son?
5. What upsets Son about Alma Estee’s appearance?
6. Why will Gideon not help Son find Jadine?
7. What advice does Therese give Son about Jadine?
8. How does Therese find the island?
9. Where on the island does Therese take Son? Why?
10. What does the term “lickety-split” mean?
1. In his search for Jade, he tries to find Therese and Gideon in Queen of France to help him get to the island.
2. Son finally finds Therese in the marketplace where she is selling smoked eels at a booth.
3. Son has looked at the photographs Jade took in Eloe. He thinks the people look “sad, poor, and even poor-spirited.”
4. Gideon tells Son that Alma has seen Jade at the airport, boarding a plane in the company of a blond man.
5. Son finds Alma’s russet-colored, ill-fitting wig disgusting.
6. Gideon thinks that Jade will bring no happiness to Son, eventually destroying him.
7. Therese tells Son to forget Jadine, who has lost her “ancient properties” and will never learn to accept and value her black heritage.
8. Therese, who is...
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As has been suggested throughout this discussion, Tar Baby compares with Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Jazz as the most experimental of Morrison's novels. Like those books, it is marked by subtle and important changes in the points of view, with consequent shifts in the reader's perspective on characters and events. At every moment we as readers need to be sensitive to the perspective embodied in and surrounding the statements made about the various characters and situations. This shifting point of view allows Morrison to establish simultaneous critical and sympathetic perspectives on her characters. These shifts in turn contribute to the novel's richness as a commentary on the state of race-consciousness in the late twentieth century. At the same time, the shifts cause readers to engage in a process of ongoing reassessment of their impressions and interpretations of individual characters, to be satisfied with an incomplete theory of the character's meaning, much as in real life people are challenged to re-assess impressions of persons they know and events they witness.
As has also been hinted, the novel begins and ends in mystery. We see Son's going AWOL from his ship, the H.M.S. Stor Koningsgarten, his swim toward freedom, his trespass on the yacht, his anxiety and hunger, all the while knowing nothing at all about the kind of man he is or the conditions of his escape from the oddly named British ship. We do not even know...
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In many ways, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison's most enigmatic novel. Whereas the narratives that precede it are set in generally realistic American locales, with a dominant focus on the economic hardship and social ghettoization of African Americans, Tar Baby's principal setting is a lush, exotic Carribean island, fully owned by one of the main characters, a retired white businessman. The central characters of Morrison's earlier novels ordinarily seek to escape their folk-culture and post-slave culture origins, but most of the principal black characters in this novel appear to have succeeded in doing this. Finally, the novel employs nonsequential narration, impressionistic scene painting, and surrealistic, symbolic narrative in a degree unique to this writer's work. The emphasis on an animated nature and the presence of ghosts and spirits prepared Morrison's audience for her masterpiece, Beloved (1986). Many years after its initial publication, Tar Baby remains the most ambiguous, and perhaps the most ignored, of Morrison's novels.
In a degree greater than that of any of her other books, with the possible exception of the stories of Macon Dead I and II in Song of Solomon, this novel concerns itself with issues of proprietorship, commerce, and colonialism, the latter motif comparatively new in Morrison's work. Valerian Street, the owner of the island, inherited a Philadelphia candy-making business and built that enterprise into a...
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Tar Baby is a breakthrough novel for its author, summarizing her concern with accepting ancestral heritage by African Americans, as this theme announced itself in The Bluest Eye. Like that novel, Morrison works with a variety of perspectives, moving confidently and subtly around her subject while never falling into the trap of direct polemic. Like Sula, the novel positions competing responses to the pressure to conform to and assimilate European-American culture by the descendants of slaves, and the novels feature a character whom we both admire and mistrust. Sula Pierce and Son are ruthless killers. But Morrison insists that we respect the autonomy of their positions, the degree to which their stubbornness poses a criticism of the compromises other characters make. The emphasis on spirits, animated nature, the swamp women, the women who people Jade's vision, and the ghosts of blind slaves looks backward toward the presence of ghosts and persons possessing magical powers in Son of Solomon, and forward to the great ghost novel of the twentieth century, Beloved. Finally, the village of Eloe in Tar Baby prepares us as readers for the central location of Morrison's grand novel of deliberate walling-out of the influence of mainstream culture, Paradise.
The literary tradition central to Tar Baby is, however, the title's allusion to a narrative from plantation culture, although certain scholars argue that the...
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: African American Literature, Revised Edition)
Lange, Bonnie Shipman. “Toni Morrison’s Rainbow Code.” Critique 24 (Spring, 1983): 173-181. Discusses Morrison’s use of color in her first four novels, arguing that her color imagery works consistently throughout the novels. Of particular importance to Tar Baby are the discussions of red, green, yellow, silver, and gold.
Lepow, Lauren. “Paradise Lost and Found: Dualism and Edenic Myth in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby. ” Contemporary Literature 28 (Fall, 1987): 363-377. Argues that one of the primary themes of Tar Baby is the unfulfilling, destructive nature of dualistic or binary thinking. As a result, unlike many other critics, Lepow views the ending of the novel as positive for Jadine, who flies out on her own.
Mobley, Marilyn E. “Narrative Dilemma: Jadine as Cultural Orphan in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby. ” Southern Review 23 (Autumn, 1987): 761-770. Argues that with Tar Baby, Morrison attempts to realize two conflicting goals: to affirm the autonomy of the self and to emphasize the importance of one’s heritage.
O’Reilly, Andrea. Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. Compares the representation of motherhood in Tar Baby to that in Morrison’s other novels; argues...
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Bibliography and Further Reading
“Caribbean.” Encyclopedia Americana International Edition, Vol. 5. New York: Grolier, 1988, pp. 655-658.
Donahue, Deirdre. “Morrison’s Painful, Profound ‘Paradise.’” USA Today. January 8, 1998, p. 1D.
Donahue, Deirdre. “Morrison’s ‘Slice’ of Paradise.” USA Today. January 8, 1998, p. 6D.
Leach, Maria, ed. “Tar Baby.” Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1972, p. 1,104.
Morrison, Toni. Tar Baby. New York: Signet-NAL, 1983.
Riley, Carolyn, ed. “Toni Morrison.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1975, p. 365.
Salzman, Jack; Smith, David Lionel; and West, Cornel, ed. “Toni Morrison.” Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Vol. 4. New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1996, pp. 1,856-1,857.
“Toni Morrison. Broadening Views, 1968-1988.” Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989, pp. 200-211.
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